President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the hacking of the U.S. Central Command's (CentCom) Twitter and YouTube feeds is proof that the United States needs to tighten its cybersecurity. The social media accounts, which are for the U.S. military command center that overseas operations in the Middle East, were taken over by Islamic State-backed hackers on Monday.
“With the Sony attack that took place, with the Twitter account that was hacked by Islamist jihadist sympathizers yesterday, it just goes to show how much more work we need to do, both public and private sector, to strengthen our cybersecurity,” Obama said at a meeting at the White House, according to the Washington Times.
You can read the White House's cybersecurity plan here. It calls for better cybersecurity information sharing between the private sector and government and would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen U.S. financial information like credit card and bank account numbers.
Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren said the Defense Department viewed the CentCom hack as a prank or as vandalism. CentCom’s operational military networkers were not compromised and no classified information was posted, CentCom said in a statement on Monday after the hack.
At the time of the cyberattack, Obama was making a speech about cybersecurity at the Federal Trade Commission. He detailed legislation he wants Congress to pass that involves better data protection and breach disclosures. The proposal comes after a major attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment by North Korea in December, and cyberattacks on Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan and other companies in the past 16 months.
Obama met with the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday to address cybersecurity initiatives, including giving companies that are struck with cyberattacks a partial immunity from lawsuits in the event of data breaches. He is expected to mention the cyberattacks during his State of the Union address on Jan. 20.